Woodsy essential oils are some of my favorite, which is why cedarwood, pine and birch have all been frequently used in my diffuser for years. Then, a much needed massage while I was visiting Japan introduced me to hinoki oil.
It's the first oil that I feel like I could bathe in undiluted and be okay with the consequences. Why? Because it smells that good. I'm not that crazy because in addition to massages, the Japanese use hinoki oil in baths to create a relaxing environment.
PS. please do not bathe in undiluted essential oils.
Where does hinoki grow?
Hinoki is native to central and southern Japan, but its long usefulness has led to its loss in the wild, where it’s considered an endangered species. Very large specimens are now uncommon and are usually found only at temples and shrines. However, planted trees are very common in Japan and can be found in plantations, parks and gardens. That's why our hinoki essential oil is extracted from the wood of sustainably-harvested Japanese Cypress trees and not old growth hinoki trees.
In addition to its relaxing scent, hinoki wood is highly resistant to decay and is held in high esteem in Japan. Over centuries, wood from the hinoki tree has been used for building palaces, temples, religious shrines and even bathtubs. Well-built hinoki structures can last 1000 years – and some buildings/artifacts are even older. One example is the pagoda at the Horyuji Temple, which was built around 600 AD.
What does hinoki oil smell like?
A warm woodsy aroma with a very light lemon-like note.
Where can you buy hinoki oil?
Since the first time I smelled hinoki oil, I knew I wanted to include it in some of our fragrances (currently found in Amelia). It also smells amazing in a diffuser so it only made sense to start offering it as its own product.
Why I love woodsy scents
I think one of the biggest reasons woodsy aromas have a positive impact on my mental health is because I spend a lot of time outdoors. It's where I go for fun whether it's for a hike, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, camping or a random drive through a wooded backroad. The outdoors is also where I go when I need some alone time or going through a creative slump.
I've mentioned a few studies in previous posts about the mental benefits of smelling woodsy oils because they contain phytyoncides, a chemical released by trees. The findings of this study indicate that olfactory stimulation by hinoki cypress leaf oil induces physiological relaxation similar to spending time outdoors. That's one of the reasons I always have a woodsy essential oil diffusing in the evening.
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of spending time outdoors, read my post about forest bathing.